Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says development of the proposed Global Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management in Jamaica is imperative in light of the sector’s vulnerability to man-made and natural disasters and exogenous shocks.
These, he said, include climate change, epidemics, pandemics, cybercrime, political instability and terrorism.
“The ultimate goal of the resilience and crisis management centre will be to assist destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that threaten [tourism-dependent] economies and livelihoods globally with real time data and effective communication,” the Prime Minister said.
He was speaking at Thursday’s (September 13) inaugural Tourism Resilience Summit of the Americas at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Regional Headquarters, Mona, St. Andrew, under the theme: ‘Tourism Resilience through Global Synergies.’
Mr. Holness noted that the Caribbean and Americas remain the most tourism-dependent region in the world, with the industry being the single largest generator of foreign exchange in 16 of 28 countries.
The Caribbean, he added, has a higher proportion of total employment and percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) derived from the industry than any other region in the world.
The Prime Minister said Jamaica’s tourism industry continues to experience unprecedented expansion, playing a prominent role in the Government’s growth agenda.
He indicated that between January and August 2018, Jamaica welcomed 2,955,007 visitors, a 4.7 per cent increase over the corresponding period last year.
Additionally, Mr. Holness said gross foreign exchange earnings between January and July 2018 were estimated at US$1.93 billion, up 6.3 per cent over the same period last year.
He said, however, that despite these favourable statistics, “the tourism industry remains one of the most vulnerable industries.”
“While the tourism sector in the region has traditionally been very resilient and remains one of the most valuable contributors to job creation, poverty alleviation, investments, export revenues, GDP and to economic livelihoods of millions of citizens, the balance can be easily disturbed by a wide range of risks and threats,” Mr. Holness pointed out.
As such, the Prime Minister said he endorses the establishment of the centre, which will be housed at the UWI’s Mona Campus.
The development, which is being spearheaded by Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, was one of several key recommendations emerging from last November’s United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Global Conference in Montego Bay.
It is intended to assess, forecast, mitigate and manage risks related to tourism resilience and crisis management.
This will be achieved through research and development; advocacy and communication; programme/project design and management; and training and capacity building.
Thursday’s summit, spearheaded by the Tourism Ministry was attended by a number of local, regional and global stakeholders.
It was aimed at assessing existing and emerging disruptions related to tourism management globally, and to identify a framework for mutual partnerships among major governmental, non-governmental and business entities.
Source: JIS News